The chance to see a newborn animal take its first steps in the wild is a rare and remarkable privilege, especially when the newborn happens to be an elephant surrounded by its protective mother and adoring herd mates. Amy Attenborough of South Africa’s Londolozi Game Reserve recently witnessed such an an event and, fortunately for us, had her video camera at the ready.

baby elephant taking its first steps at londolozi

The newborn elephant seeks comfort and safety beneath its mother. Photograph by Amy Attenborough

As you’ll see in the video below, the calf’s family nervously circled around to protect it and steady it with their trunks as they helped it to its feet.

“As they jostled around the baby I kept stressing that it was about to be trampled, but their movements were gentle and controlled, and the baby bounced amongst them on new-found feet,” she wrote on Londolozi’s blog.

Attenborough said the elephants buried the afterbirth and bathed themselves and the calf in dust, most likely to mask the scent and protect the vulnerable newborn from any predators that might have been in the area.

“They also touched their trunks to it tenderly, taking turns to greet the new member of the family, all the while rumbling in the deeply comforting way that speaks to elephants and humans alike,” she writes.

Watch the inspiring and magical moment below. Enjoy!